In the relative blink of an eye, on the continuum of human development, we’ve seen smartphones re-write the very way we live our lives. 2007 saw the introduction of the first iPhone with full Internet access, and the world as we know it has never been the same since. Our mobile device is our constant companion, our window into what’s going on with our friends and our society. It’s our entertainment hub, our gaming device and our omnipresent link to the digital realm.
Apps are the heart of the smartphone ecosystem. We do our shopping, banking and make our travel plans through apps, and they’ve evolved at any amazing rate over the years. It’s estimated that you’ll find around 5.7 million apps between the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Mobile phone users will access 9 or 10 apps per day, and they account for about 85% of time spent on the smart devices. With so many choices available, let’s take a look at the leading mobile apps that can help you live a smarter life.
A New Era of Communication: WhatsApp & Signal
WhatsApp is a free messenger app that you can use to send text messages, audio, images and video. Basically, it’s similar to text messaging on a phone but it uses the Internet instead of the phone’s wireless service. It also features group chatting, real time location sharing and voice messages. There are 1 billion WhatsApp users worldwide.
If you are at all concerned with privacy, then Signal may be the right communications and messenger app for you. The free Signal app lets users make encrypted phone calls to one another. They can also communicate via encrypted text, video and audio messages. And it’s not just the message that is encrypted; it also hides the metadata about who sent the message too. Signal’s popularity soared when WhatsApp began sending personal data to its parent company, Facebook.
Staying Organised with Microsoft To Do & Google Keep
There is a lot to juggle in life, between the demands of work, personal projects, get togethers with friends and home improvement tasks. If you need a fully-featured to-do list application, check out Microsoft To Do. It’s simply one of the best task list managers out there.
With Google Keep, you can create plain text notes, and organise them and share them with others collaboratively. It also lets you create voice notes, which are automatically transcribed as you go along. The notes are synched with Google Drive, so they are available instantly where ever you go.
Evolving Fitness Trends: Strava & MyFitnessPal
Strava has a simple and powerful reason for being. It’s a social network for athletes, and lets you track and analyse all of your training and performance activity. You can also connect with your friends, and share your adventures. It’s incredibly motivating, and you can even top the leaderboard and become King of the Mountain.
MyFitnessPal takes a different angle and approach. It’s a free fitness and calorie tracker used by millions of people. You can set weight gain or loss goals, count calories and access nutritional information. You’ll also be able to log your exercise activities, and track your daily intake of water. You can think of this app as a mini personal trainer.
FinTech Revolution: Wise and Revolut
Almost all of your banking needs can be taken care of with apps now, including depositing checks online. The FinTech revolution has also seen the arrival of specialised apps such as Wise. Wise is a money transfer app that lets you easily send money and receive payments from abroad. You can also hold money in your account in any one of 50 different currencies; it offers good exchange rates and low transfer fees.
Revolut is marketed as a “super app” that lets you manage all of your finances, from saving and investments to spending. It has a tiered APY plan based on subscription level, and lets you create goals and put money in savings vaults. You can also invest your money in stocks and ETFs, with low minimums.
Educational Platforms: Skillshare and Coursera
In our rapidly changing world, continuous learning has become a must if you want to survive economically. Fortunately, the leading educational apps and platforms make online learning easy. Skillshare offers over 30,000 courses on a wide variety of topics, is affordable and comes with a month free trial. It covers many niche topics, and has introduced Learning Paths which are sequential, curated classes.
While Skillshare doesn’t offer certificates or accreditation, with Coursera you can obtain degrees and certifications. They feature top quality courses from leading universities, and you’ll be able to interact with other students as you complete your projects.
Food Delivery at Your Fingertips: Bolt and Wolt Food
Food delivery apps have made getting the food you love delivered right to your door incredibly easy. Bolt Food and Wolt both serve this market niche. In addition to food delivery, Bolt is also a scooter and taxi company. Wolt specialises in food, drinks and groceries.
You can browse the restaurant offerings in the app, and then choose what you want and soon it’ll be at your door. Wolt offers similar convenience and a variety of restaurants; you can also order alcohol through the app.
The Rise of E-commerce: Amazon & Etsy
It seems Amazon has been a megalithic retailer for nearly forever, but in reality, it was founded in Jeff Bezos’ garage and opened for business in 1995. It started as a bookstore, but now nearly everything is conveniently available online. Bezos’ motto “get big fast” certainly tracked well into the future, with Amazon’s retail ecommerce sales across the world predicted to reach €695 billion in 2023.
Etsy is an online marketplace that connects people who appreciate unique or handmade goods with millions of independent sellers across the world. It’s very popular with artists, crafters and collectors. Founded in 2005, its current revenues are €2.4 billion.
Entertainment on the Go: Netflix and Spotify
Way back in time, if you wanted to watch a TV show you had to gather around the television set at a specific broadcast time. Now with entertainment giants like Netflix and Spotify, your vast library of streaming videos (Netflix) and music (Spotify) are just a screen click away. Our smartphone is truly a window into an incredible entertainment world.
You can bring the world of Disney and even more great streaming choices to your smartphone or other devices with Melita’s NexTV. Our TV Everywhere service will give you access to a full selection of channels and the Disney entertainment that you love.
The Importance of Digital Well-Being: Headspace & Calm
With our crazy, hectic lives and the ever-increasing speed of the world, we all need a break and time for healing, peace and re-centering. Headspace is a mindfulness app that was co-founded by a former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe. There are meditation programs and courses, guided meditations that help you sleep and short movement workouts that focus on the mind-body connection.
Calm helps us find inner peace, and relieve those feelings of anxiousness. Think of it as an oasis in a frenetic, crazy world. You’ll find calming exercise, sleep stories and breathing techniques often narrated by celebrities. There are also wellness master classes taught by renowned experts.
Apps open up a world of possibilities, all accessible from the convenience of your smartphone or device. You’ll find award-winning entertainment, apps that enhance your well-being and health, and choices that enhance your learning, finances and keep your communications safe.
And on top of it all, after a hard day or week at work, you can get fantastic restaurant food delivered right to your door. Apps let you get whatever you need, where ever you are, easily.